“I wish I was making this up,” Platt said, “but we have emails where this is being passed around to members in the most inflammatory way possible.” The pastor offered clarity to those in attendance and watching online. “It sounds crazy to even have to say this, but just to be clear, we actually want Muslims to know the love of Jesus. We have in writing from the SBC we’re not a member of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
Platt said the buzzwords and scare tactics disseminated through the emails that members had shared with leadership included statements such as, “McLean Bible Church would be gone,” and it was “down road of leaving the gospel behind,” “leaving the Bible behind,” and “embracing liberal theology and cultural Marxism.” Comments also included statements such as, “We would change our stance on abortion and sexuality,” and “We would allow Critical Race Theory, Black Lives Matter, and defunding the police to drive our agenda as a church.”
One of the main disgruntled leaders of the group disparagingly used race as a means to influence a church member’s vote, stating: “ ‘MBC’ is no longer McLean Bible Church; it’s now Melanin Bible Church.” To this, a somber yet stern Platt said, “That is not acceptable for the body of Jesus Christ. That language has no place whatsoever here…We will not apologize for our increasing diversity or our commitment to humbly address racial issues from God’s Word as we unite together on a glorious mission to proclaim this good Word and our great God in a city where 5 million-plus men, women, boys and girls are on a road that leads to an eternal hell and need the good news of God’s love for them.”
Platt said the situation is disheartening because the church has walked through the Bible regarding many of the fabrications about what would happen if the new elders were elected. It seems, he said, “less about God’s Word and more about what this blog or that Facebook post says. As if those sources of information are anywhere close to the authority of [God’s] Word.”
It was also revealed that people who were former members and inactive members who no longer attend MBC traveled to the Tysons campus to cast a planned “no” vote in the elder election, prompting criticism that the ballots had been “stuffed.” Confusion surrounding nonmember and member voting resulted in staff distributing provisional ballots, which caused the final vote to be “too close to call” due to not knowing which ballots could be counted or not.
“We are not going to be in the business of adjudicating which provisional ballot to count or not count,” Platt said, as he outlined the current elders’ decision moving forward. The elders followed the church’s constitution and held another election on July 18, 2021, that resulted in 80 percent of members affirming the three new elders. This vote was observed by an independent third party.
Platt told the church that he believes, “God desires to use all of this division to actually unify our church.”